Decision about adopting a cat

What to Decide Before Getting a Cat and How to Decide it:

Isn’t getting a cat the nicest thing?

Are you thinking about getting one?

Well, we’re excited to hear that, and here are some tips to help you!

Thinking of getting a pet can be a really exciting time, it can almost be considered an addition of a new family member to your home. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you think through this decision, especially the cost involved, before committing to getting a cat (for more information on the costs involved, check out this blog on Unaagi). 

You may want to get a cat that you could cuddle and keep you company, or you may want an independent cat that doesn’t want too much human interaction. Either way, what is most important is that you find a cat that will readily interact with you when you want it to

All cats are not the same and they each have their own personalities and experience (or lack thereof) in their interactions with other humans. These aspects can make cats either fearful or confident with people and in their lives in general. 

The environment that you provide for a cat is also extremely important – for instance, certain cats may not like to live with other cats or pets and may show signs of stress. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to choose the perfect cat for you and your lifestyle.

But, if you have realistic expectations and also understand what makes a cat tick, this will then help you to bring home a cat that will be able to adapt to its’ new environment and become the pet that you want.

Should I get a cat or a kitten?

Kittens are very difficult to resist, they are adorable balls of fur and are full of energy. However, the downside to getting a kitten is that they are full of energy and demand a considerable amount of time and patience from their owners.

It is also difficult to know how your kitten may behave once it is an adult, as cats don’t tend to form an established character until they are at least one year old. If your home is more suited to a laid-back character, it would be advisable to choose an adult cat.

Adult cats tend to be more settled and are less likely to misbehave than kittens. Some cats will even be very affectionate and will want to cuddle with you or lay at your feet. Once your cat is fully grown, their personality will also be well established.

Their previous owner may be able to give you advice on the cat’s food intake, litter tray habits and character, making it a smooth process of settling into your home. Mature cats (older than seven years) are ideal for quieter households.

While older cats aren’t always a first choice of potential adopters, they’re well worth considering as a pet. They tend to be quieter throughout the day, sleep through the night and are less likely to wander from home.

Cat care

Cats are relatively simple and cheaper to care for when compared to dogs (check out the costs involved for both cats and dogs in this blog on Unaagi). They prefer several smaller meals during the day and there are various timed feeders or food activity toys that can help you with this.

If your cat does not have access to an outdoor area, you need to be prepared to clear out your pet’s litter tray at regular and consistent intervals throughout the day. Cats are usually very clean animals, although you may inevitably find cat hair on your furniture and clothes.

Further, it is important to plan ahead for the cost of their yearly vaccinations, routine worming, flea treatments and other vets’ fees.

Things to consider before you get a cat

If you have finally decided on getting a cat, there are a few aspects to consider and keep in mind before bringing your cat home. There will be regular adjustments that need to be made to your everyday life, as well as things you may have to learn and adapt to. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider:

    • Food – Don’t assume that your cat will know what it is supposed to eat or drink. Certain foods like chocolate, grapes and raisins or dairy products can cause stomach bleeding and even cause death.
    • Plants – You should be cautious of the plants you have inside and around your home as some may be very dangerous to your cat’s health. Some common plants include, among others, lilies, oleander, and tulips.
    • Medicine and cleaning products – These should be safely stored in a place that your cat cannot access.  This includes any dietary supplements and non-chemical cleaning products that you may own.
    • Electronics – Cats like to cuddle and be warm and cats tend to use electronics such as chargers and laptops for warmth. It is important to avoid any accidents of this nature by providing pet heating pads for your cats, especially in the colder months.

Your checklist to get a cat

  1. Shelter – Local shelters usually have many different kinds of cats and adopting from a shelter is a great thing to do as you are giving a cat a comfortable and loving home. It is important to be patient with cats that you adopt from a shelter as they may be easily scared and could have various negative experiences in their past.

  2. Breed – Do some research on the different breeds that exist, as you can get an idea of the breed that would suit you and your lifestyle the best. You could use various online cat breed selectors to help you figure out which breed is the best fit.

  3. Neutering – This is the castration of male cats and spaying of female cats. This should be done as soon as your cat is old enough, which is usually after eight weeks. If you don’t plan to breed your cat, you should ensure that you get them neutered in time.

  4. Vaccines – Your vet will inform you of the necessary vaccines and there are core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are vital for your cat’s health and protect them against respiratory virus, feline distemper and rabies.

  5. Parasite control – Fleas, ticks and worms are the most commonly known, however, there are many more parasites to look out for, such as ear mites or parasites that can cause toxoplasmosis. Thus, it is important to speak to your vet about scheduling regular appointments for check-ups (Unaagi can help you schedule all your cat’s appointments to ensure that you never miss an important appointment again!).

  6. Litter box – This should be placed in a quiet place that isn’t used frequently and it is vital to invest in good, fragrance-free cat litter. If your cat urinates outside the litter box after having been training, this is usually a sign of a dirty litter box or urinary tract infections. If the litter box is fresh and your cat still urinates on the floor, you should visit the vet immediately.

  7. Toys – Most cats are playful, curious and enjoy having something to do. It is helpful to buy a few toys, e.g. squeaky toy mouse, feather teaser or catnip toy, to keep your cat occupied.

  8. Food – Cats require protein in their diet and usually eat various meats. Wheat and corn are fillers that cats do not need in their time and find it difficult to digest. Investing in a good cat food brand that’s within your budget might just save you an additional trip to the vet.

  9. Collar and carriers – Getting a tagged collar might be very helpful, especially when you bring a new cat home that isn’t quite familiar with the surroundings. A cat carrier is a safe way to transport your cat when you have to drive as your cat usually won’t sit still in a moving car!

  10. Pet insurance – Pet insurance could be a good investment if it is within your budget, ensuring that any unexpected situations in the future are covered.

The health benefits of cats

Owning any pet can provide various health benefits. However, here are some benefits that are specific to cats. Cats can:

  • Lower stress and anxiety. Just one session of petting and playing with your cat can turn a bad day into a good one. A cat’s purrs are also very calming to the nervous system and help to lower your blood pressure. 
  • Improve your heart health. Cat owners have been reported to carry a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Prevent allergies. If your child is exposed to cats within the first few years of life, they are more likely to develop an immune system that combats not only cat allergies but other kinds of allergens as well. 
  • Reduce feelings of loneliness. Cats are great companions to have as pets and they offer unconditional love that can be equal to (or sometimes even greater than) many human friends and confidants.

 

All in all, nothing will help you care for your cat better than paying attention to your cat’s behavior and needs. Make sure your cat’s new home is comfortable and many years of purrfect happiness will be awaiting both of you!

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